Day: September 28, 2009

California Politics For 2010 Governorship And Senate Race

California, our largest state with 12 percent of the national population, and deeply affected by the Great Recession, is a microcosm of American politics, and the upcoming races for Governor and Senator are fascinating.

The Republican party will see combative races between relatively unknown conservatives, who have no chance of winning these races, and two well known CEOs of technology companies and both female, but without political experience–Meg Whitman of Ebay for Governor and Carly Fiorina of Hewlett Packard for Senator.

Without any political experience except for backing John McCain for President last year, these two women may have a tough time even being nominated, but even when nominated over their more conservative opponents, the chances of either of them winning a state wide race seem astronomical, despite the tormenting economic conditions faced in the state, where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is consumed with massive debt problems as he finishes his last year in office in 2010.

Former Governor Jerry Brown and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom are locked in a battle, which seems to favor Brown, now the state Attorney General, but highlighted by Bill Clinton’s endorsement of Newsom, primarily because of Brown’s bruising challenge of Clinton’s primary race for President in 1992, demonstrating that Bill Clinton does not forget when people have wronged him. The odds would still be on Brown, despite his flaky background when Governor from 1975-1983, and his three runs for President in 1976, 1980, and 1992. He may very well go from being the youngest Governor in California history to its oldest, returning to the job he had 28-36 years ago by the time he would become Governor again in January 2011. Newsom faces the controversy over supporting and promoting gay marriage, which has now been rejected by California voters in the referendum last November, but is young, vigorous and handsome and a sign of the future in American politics, so cannot be ruled out.

Meanwhile, Senator Barbara Boxer, while controversial since her election to the Senate in 1992, is still very likely to be reelected. What is clear in both the gubernatorial and senatorial races is the reality of possibly the highest amount of money spent ever, except in a presidential race.

Even if the Democrats lose seats in the Senate and some governorships nationally, they are likely to keep the Senate seat of Boxer and gain the gubernatorial seat of Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who should be relieved when he no longer has the burden of what is an impossible job–governing California, the eighth largest economy in the world!

Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ View Of His “Boss”, Barack Obama

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a carryover from the Bush Administration and a Republican who served in the CIA under six Presidents, has come out in fulsome praise of his “boss”, President Obama.

He said he enjoyed working for him, saw him as very analytical, and desirous of learning everything he can about a situation or issue. Basically, he is saying that Obama is very smart, a nice change from the previous President.

While he did not say this, it is obvious that Obama is very different from his predecessor, George W. Bush. Gates did say that Afghanistan had been a “holding action” under Bush because of the war in Iraq.

It should be pointed out that Gates was not the Secretary of Defense when decisions were made about both Afghanistan and Iraq. Had he been there, instead of Donald Rumsfeld, maybe the history of the involvement in both countries would have been different, and we would not now be faced with the crisis we face, not only in Afghanistan, but the growing threat of Iran, which was only emboldened by US involvement in Iraq.

It is ironic that right wing critics attack Obama, but refuse to recognize that it was Bush who put us in the mess we are now in, which Obama needs to extricate us from as soon as possible!

Bill Clinton And The Right Wing Critics Of President Obama’s Administration

Former President Bill Clinton was on Meet the Press this weekend, and he was asked if the “vast right wing conspiracy” still existed, the term developed by his wife, Hillary Clinton, for the vehement opposition to her husband’s administration ten years and more ago.

Clinton said yes, but I am not sure I would use the word “conspiracy”, which is too easily used by many irresponsible people when someone or a group is critical of what is being said or done.

However, there is no doubt that the so called “right wing” is actively involved in a vicious way in attacking the agenda of the Obama Administration, and trying to create, as Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina said during the summer, Obama’s “Waterloo”. There is no question that the Republican leadership and the radio talk show hosts and Fox News are trying to destroy any possibility of health care reform, and are bitterly attacking Obama’s attempts to recast American foreign policy.

That is, of course, their right to do, but as Bill Clinton said, it is sad that instead of looking for bipartisanship on important matters, we have such virulent opposition. Instead of a civilized debate, we have harsh rhetoric which is very regrettable.

If only other Republicans besides Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, who was praised by Clinton, would be willing to be cooperative in trying to reform health care, this country would be much better off, but as the former President said, it is highly doubtful that the GOP will be able to damage the Obama Presidency in a major way in the midterm 2010 congressional elections.